Battery – Mid Season Review
Reviewed by: Tom
Original Air Dates: July 13, 2016 to ???
Synopsis: Harada Takumi is the best pitcher in the region and he’s not even in Junior High yet. However, Takumi finds himself increasingly frustrated as he’s unable to find a catcher who can keep up with him. When his family moves to a backwater town, his frustration only gets worse until he comes to meet one Nagakura Go….
mid season (5 EPISODEs) REVIEW (WARNING: SOME SPOILERS TO FOLLOW):
Tom: Battery is a parade of assholes and I can’t stop watching. In our original preview both Linny and I had found Takumi too dickish, too self centered and too arrogant to root for as a protagonist. I ultimately decided to stick with the series, curious how Takumi would evolve as a character, if at all. I’m pretty sure Battery’s story arc revolves around Takumi changing fundamentally as an individual, learning to temper his conviction to the sport and find fun in life rather than pure competition.
That revalation, if its coming, is far off however as these past five episodes I’ve been met with obnoxious, self-centered, mean spirited characters one after another. Takumi isn’t the only raging asshole within Battery. His own mother is quite rude, insistent that Takumi give up baseball before she eventually signs a sheet allowing him to sign up for his Junior High’s team. Even the mother of Takumi’s new friend, Go, finds Takumi out running early in the morning and attempts to turn Takumi into a weapon through which to convince her own son to give up on his aspirations of playing on the team. Really? Getting the new kid to brow beat your son into giving up?
The assholery doesn’t end there however, Takumi’s coach is just as big a dick, attempting to get Takumi to bend to his will with insistence that he cut his hair for no good reason, but to simply get to the kid to fall in line. The series only increases in throwing out characters like these. Episode five itself sees a subset of the Baseball team resort to bullying, and a principal who punishes the bullies by shutting the entire baseball club and team down. It’s almost astounding how rude, thoughtless, and self-centered near everyone is here.
There’s a few exceptions of course. Go, Takumi’s new friend and the only member of the team capable of catching Takumi’s pitches, is an upstanding individual. He near always does the right thing and selflessly puts others before himself. Takumi’s younger brother, Seiha, is an adorable little boy who just wants to play baseball, but his mother and brother constantly hammer it into him that he’s too frail to even bother with it (crushers of dreams these people.) Finally there’s Takumi’s grandfather, who seems to have the most level head of any adult here, but isn’t consulted often enough to make much of a difference.
As the story goes, it’s meant to be a sort of trans-formative tale for Takumi, his rise from arrogant young man with talent to someone more respectable. We don’t see a lot of that within these episodes however, in fact when Takumi shows a surprising change of character you’re right along with the rest of the cast in not believing a word he says. I also suspect that, since Battery is based upon an ongoing Manga, there’ll be little pay off and evolution of Takumi’s character by the end of this 11 episode run.
Otherwise the progression of the story is undoubtedly slow. Compared to either Days or Cheer Boys!! of this season Battery moves along at a snails pace. By Episode 6 Days’ Main Character is competing in soccer matches with his team, and Cheer Boys are training to compete in a big tournament. Battery lags behind either, content to detail Takumi’s admittance to the team, and its subsequent collapse, in detail. It’s not exactly boring, thanks in part to just how much of a dick everyone is, but if you were hoping to see people actually play baseball you might’ve picked the wrong series.
Battery’s animation isn’t exactly a draw, nor is it any kind of major deficiency. Much of the art is competent, or even manages to look appealing in certain shots. But the framework and blocking of the characters is basic, and long shots showing teammates playing catch doesn’t always seem to sync up properly between who is doing the throwing and who is doing the catching.
Battery is a bizarre watch, approaching train wreck quality in terms of just how rude, self-centered and ‘jackassey’ everyone can be to one another. I wouldn’t call Battery a masterpiece, but it’s definitely got my attention if perhaps mainly because I want to see how much of an asshole everyone is going to be next week.
Battery is available for streaming via Amazon.com.